Family and Children’s Court

The Family and children’s court is presided over by a magistrate grade 1 and entertains applications in regards to a child’s care and protection. Court can for example grant orders against both or either parent for maintenance of a child. Court normally looks at who is in a good place financially to maintain the child and its orders can vary depending on the changing circumstances. The proceedings in this court are normally conducted under camera and are as informal as possible.

Procedure in terms of child maintenance:

  1. Any person who has custody of a child and who is a mother, father or guardian to the child can make an application for maintenance against the mother, father or guardian of the child as the case may be.
  2. An application for maintenance of a child can be made at any time during the subsistence of the marriage, during proceedings for divorce, separation or nullity of marriage, during or after proceedings of declaration of parentage, during separation, during pregnancy and any time before the child attains 18 years.
  3. The application shall be made by the complaint on oath and the court shall issue summons to be served upon either parent who is being reported and both parties shall be required to attend court on the day mentioned therein.
  4. On appearance of the person served or proof of service of court summons, the court shall proceed to hear the evidence and having regard to all the circumstances of the case proceed to make orders against the father, mother or guardian as the case may be for the payment of the applicant of the following:
    • A Monthly sum of money may be determined by the court having regard to the circumstances of the case and financial means of the father, mother or guardian as the case may be for the maintenance of the child. If court deems it fit, in place of a monthly payment, it may make an order for a lump sum payment to be deposited in court and shall be expended in the maintenance of the child.
    • Funeral expenses of the child if the child dies before the grant of the child maintenance order.
    • Costs incurred in obtaining the order.

NOTE:  Child maintenance includes feeding, clothing, education and general welfare of the child.

To learn more about the definition of summons please follow this link.

For more information about child maintenance and when your partner doesn’t provide for your child(ren) follow this link.